3i6 THE GAY GENIUS it enabled him to feel more settled. "From the development of recent events," he wrote to Cheng, "it seems there is no hope of my returning north. But I feel quite at peace. It is not necessary to philosophise about the vicissitudes of human life. From a very matter-of-fact point of view, I can just imagine myself to be a scholar candidate from Hui- chow who has failed in the examinations and decides to live in his home town for life. What's wrong with that?*' In his letter to his good friend Sun Shieh he said: "Since all hope of return to the north was cut off, I have begun to regard myself as a native of Huichow." To Tsao Fu he wrote: "I have read the recent news that the Yuanyu officials will for ever be excluded from reappointment to office. It gives me a feeling of security at this place and I am willing to take what comes. Now I am exactly like a mendicant friar, except that I eat meat and drink wine." Now that all was final, he decided to build his house. Late that year he wrote a long letter to Wang Kung. "I have been here for eight months, accompanied by my youngest son and some maidservants, and am feeling quite comfortable. Since I have been relieved of all official duties, I feel at peace in mind and body. My son also takes a poetic view of life. Indeed he is a chip from the old block. Ha ha! I hear from Tseyu quite constantly and learn that he is well satisfied there. Whether one lives north or south has all been predetermined. Nor do I have the desire to return north. Next year I shall buy a farm and build a house and then settle down as a citizen of Huichow." In March of the following year, therefore, Su Tungpo began to build his house on top of a hill standing forty feet above the east bank of the river, quite close to the Kweishan city wall. Through periodic wars and devastations this house has been preserved down to this day and is known as the Chaoyun Memorial. Known in Su's works as "the house on the White Stork Hill", it commanded a wonderful view of the river on the north side where the water turned north-eastward. Situated on a small plot of land about half an acre wide, and strictly confined by the hill at its back and by sharp descent below, the plan of the house had to suit the limited flat area available, wider at one end than at the other. Two small houses already stood there on the city wall side, owned by Mr. Chai and the old woman wine-brewer known as Mrs, Lin, who were neighbours and close friends. He dug a well forty feet deep which also greatly benefited Chai and Mrs. Lin. On the other hand, Su Tungpo could obtain wine on credit. Later, when he was sent away from this place, he still kept on sending presents to this old woman. The house was quite elaborate, containing a total of twenty "rooms", a room being a unit of space in the Chinese language. On the small vacant space on the south side he planted oranges, pumelos, lichi.